The 12 animals from the Chinese Zodiac go by pairs. And some pairs really don’t seem to match. Unless you read what Mr. Zhou Enlai, the former Chinese premier. said once to a Western audience. (I hold this story from Dato Joey Yap)
« The rat and the ox make up the first pair. The rat represents wisdom while the ox meant hard work. Wisdom without hard work is the biggest shame of humanity. Hard work without wisdom will only lead to a life of hardship and an endless grind. Our ancestors put this as the first pairing as to impart on us that we must combine both Wisdom and Hard Work in order to live a fulfilled life.”
« The second duality is the tiger and the pig. The former ferocious, the latter kind-hearted. If we are ferocious and cast like iron, we break down and it will not be easy for us to recover. But being kind-hearted and accepting of others all the time also means gullibility that can be taken advantage of. We need to be kind-hearted and accommodative, yet fierce in the pursuit of our goals and happiness.
“Next, are the rabbit and the dog. The rabbit stands for intelligence whereas the dog stands for loyalty. Without loyalty, intelligence won’t have great followers to bring us breakthroughs and successes. Wi1.ithout intelligence – loyalty will blindly follow orders and can be manipulated to do deeds of others. One must have both intelligence and loyalty to lead and support at the same time.”
« The dragon and the rooster – One that is instinctive in nature, impulsive and even unpredictable. The other systemic and operating like clockwork (like how a rooster clucks away every day at the very same moment the sun rises). The dragon denotes one’s ambitiousness and the natural intuition that comes with, where else the rooster represents rigidness and methodical approaches to pursue a goal. If you only listen to your intuition with no care for systems, you are bound to be impulsive and it will only spell recklessness. But if you are too rigid without the ability to understand nuances, you will make yourself obsolete and irrelevant to change. And change is the only constant.”
« The fifth pairing is the snake and the monkey. Snake represents solitary that is required for one to carve out their own individuality while the monkey represents the equally important trait of being a part of a community. We all have our own stories and our own purpose, and it is important to identify them for ourselves. Meanwhile, mankind will need to work together in societies –all playing to their own strengths no less– to achieve greater good as a whole.
« Last the horse and the goat. The horse represents our vision, a constantly forward-moving one. A goat on the other handrepresents an easy-going nature, one that’s free spirited and go-with-the-flow. A person without a balance between these qualities will not be able to reap the fruits of his labor. If you care only for your goals and look after only of yourself, you may not be able to handle all the obstacles that arise. But if you are too free spirited and care only of others, you will eventually lead a life with nothing that you can give.”